Master Your ADHD: The Top Digital and Paper Planners You Need to Know About Right Now

Last updated: March 17, 2023 7 min read


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual's ability to focus, stay organized, process information, and control impulses. While commonly diagnosed during childhood, ADHD can persist into adulthood, often presenting challenges in daily life and career success. However, with the right tools, such as ADHD-friendly digital planners, individuals with ADHD can manage these challenges and lead productive lives.

ADHD is not a disease, mental illness, or behavioral disorder; rather, it is a developmental impairment of the brain's self-management system. Adults with ADHD may experience symptoms such as:

  • Poor time management
  • Impulsiveness
  • Difficulty prioritizing
  • Disorganization
  • Challenges with multitasking
  • Restlessness
  • Short attention spans
  • Analysis paralysis (difficulty making decisions)

Despite these challenges, many adults with ADHD can still manage to excel in their careers, overcoming obstacles like poor communication skills, short-term memory difficulties, procrastination, and struggles with planning and managing complex projects.

As Belynda L. Gauthier, an HR professional and past board president of CHADD, points out, anyone can have trouble sitting still and paying complete attention, but "For some people, however, the problems are so pervasive and persistent that they interfere with every aspect of their life: home, academic, social and work" (Gauthier, n.d.).

To aid in managing the daily challenges of ADHD, such as planning and staying organized, consider using digital planner apps specifically designed for ADHD brains. These ADHD planners can help with time blindness and working memory issues (Schweitzer et al., 2006; Smith et al., 2002) by serving as customizable planners or vision boards that visually represent the passage of time and provide memory prompts. This reduces the chances of forgetting tasks and makes to-do lists less intimidating and helps combat distractions, procrastination, and impulsivity.

In this article, we'll delve into the unique features that the best planner apps for ADHD should possess and explore how they can improve the personal and professional lives of those experiencing the complexities of ADHD.

What to Look for in Planners for ADHD

When searching for the perfect planner to cater to the needs of an ADHD brain, it's important to find one that transforms the often-daunting tasks of organization and time management into a more enjoyable and engaging experience. Here are some key features to look for in ADHD-friendly digital planners and daily planner apps:

  1. Flexibility and customization: A great ADHD planner should be adaptable to your unique needs, allowing you to tailor its structure and layout to better suit your preferences and lifestyle.
  2. Simplicity: Less is more when it comes to ADHD planners. Overly complex designs can be overwhelming, so opt for a planner with a clean, minimalist layout that promotes clarity and focus.
  3. Effective structure: A well-organized planner with designated sections for tasks, appointments, and reminders can work wonders for individuals with ADHD by streamlining the planning process and reducing the cognitive load.
  4. Visual cues: Visual elements, such as icons or illustrations, can help ADHD brains quickly process information and easily identify important tasks or events.
  5. Color-coding: Color can be an incredibly helpful tool for individuals with ADHD. Assigning different colors to specific tasks or categories can make it easier to differentiate between them at a glance.
  6. Daily/weekly breakdowns: A planner that provides both daily and weekly views allows for better short-term and long-term planning, enabling you to stay on top of appointments, deadlines, and personal goals.
  7. Reminders: Regular reminders or notifications can be a lifesaver for ADHD brains, ensuring that important tasks don't slip through the cracks.

While many adults with ADHD prefer traditional physical or paper planners for bullet journaling, meetings, appointments, and other responsibilities, digital planners and apps can offer additional benefits. There's a certain satisfaction that comes from the hands-on approach of pen-to-paper, as well as the act of physically crossing off completed tasks. However, according to a survey conducted by ADDitude Magazine, a majority of the 1,342 readers who participated still preferred a paper planner system over digital alternatives.

Ultimately, whether you opt for a daily planner, weekly planner layout, bullet journal, or a monthly calendar in paper or digital format, the key is to find a planner that effectively supports your ADHD brain and helps you conquer the challenges of everyday life.

How Daily Planners for ADHD Improve Daily Life

For individuals with ADHD, staying organized and maintaining focus on tasks throughout the day can feel like an uphill battle. That's where ADHD-friendly planners swoop in to save the day, boosting productivity, enhancing time management, and alleviating the stress that comes with disorganization. So, how do these superhero planners transform the daily lives of 'ADHDers'? Let's explore their superpowers:

  1. Combating time blindness: Time blindness, a common challenge for individuals with ADHD, can make it difficult to accurately perceive the passage of time or estimate how long tasks will take. ADHD-friendly daily planners, with their meticulously divided sections for months, weeks, and even hourly increments, provide a clear and structured framework that helps users visualize and allocate time for tasks, appointments, and events.
  2. Prioritizing tasks: With a well-designed ADHD planner, it becomes easier to identify high-priority tasks and allocate appropriate time and resources to them. This improved sense of prioritization leads to more efficient time management and increased productivity.
  3. Reducing stress: Juggling multiple responsibilities and deadlines can be overwhelming, especially for those with ADHD. By having a reliable planner to track and organize tasks, individuals can experience a sense of control and reduced stress, knowing that they have a system in place to help them stay on top of their obligations.
  4. Encouraging consistency and routine: Establishing and maintaining routines can be particularly beneficial for individuals with ADHD. A daily planner promotes consistency by providing a structured platform for planning and tracking daily routines, making it easier to develop healthy habits and stay on track.
  5. Enhancing self-awareness: Regularly using a daily planner allows users to gain insight into their personal productivity patterns, identify areas for improvement, and better understand how their ADHD symptoms may be impacting their daily lives. This heightened self-awareness can lead to more effective strategies for managing ADHD in the long run.
  6. Fostering accountability: When tasks and deadlines are clearly laid out in a planner, avoiding responsibility or procrastinating is harder. ADHD-friendly planners, by design, encourage users to take ownership of their time and responsibilities, resulting in a greater sense of accomplishment and motivation.

The Best Paper Planners for People with ADHD

As previously mentioned, many adults with ADHD prefer physical planners. Something about the tactile experience appeals to them, not to mention that only some are tech-savvy. Below are some popular choices for the ADHD brain:

Daily or Weekly paper planners

Depending on whether you have short-term or long-term goals, your planning may occur daily or weekly. Daily planners help you see the specifics of your day down to the minute, while weekly ones give a comprehensive overview of your to-dos for the week ahead.

However, a planner that offers daily and weekly functions and monthly or yearly overviews can be even more valuable.

Here are some examples:

1. Planner Pad
  • This physical ADHD planner helps reduce anxiety by using a funnel-down system that keeps your most important tasks at the forefront, helping you manage your time better and get more done.
  • Aside from being paper-based, this planner is also available as an app.

    Image retrieved from

The Planner Pad planner for ADHD

2. The Happy Planner
  • For the ADHD brain, at first impression, this planner may seem intimidating but it is lauded as one of the best planners for ADHD. It offers:
  1. Two different layout options
  2. Insertion of special insertion packs
  3. Eye-catching bright colors and designs
  4. 18 months' worth of planning space

The Happy Planner for ADHD

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3. Panda Planner
  • This planner focuses on your productivity and happiness, offering areas where you can jot down daily reflections, improvements, and positive thoughts in preparation for the next day.

Click here to learn more.

Panda Planner

Bullet Journals

A bullet journal is different from a regular planner. It's like a planner and diary in one, allowing you much more flexibility to create a format that fits your preferences.

It offers sections allowing you to log daily and monthly to-dos, notes, and long-term goals, and even incorporate graphics or your own doodling, among other functions.

These entries are tagged with bullet points and graphics, which significantly helps working memory and gives structure to organize your thoughts.

A bullet journal

Some common examples of bullet journals are:

1. Bullet Journal

Image retrieved from Additude Magazine online 

The Bullet Journal



The Best Digital Planners for People with ADHD

Digital daily planners are incredibly effective ways to tackle the challenges faced by people with ADHD, such as staying productive, managing time, and fostering creativity. For those who prefer all things digital over paper, this option is for them.

What's even more valuable are smart digital planners, which transform your day's planning and managing processes into seamless experiences. Going digital supercharges the speed and efficiency of any function you desire, cutting back on time wasted and getting way more done.

And to top it off, your information on these software solutions is saved in the cloud and can be accessed from any device, anywhere, eliminating the fear of losing it if it were in hard copy.

Here are a few of the best digital ADHD-friendly apps:

1. Vineforce

The Vineforce app was designed to help users stay focused and organized. Its features are inclined toward users who have this type of behavioral disorder. Some key features are:

  1. AI-Powered Workday Planning: Vineforce's AI-driven workday planner takes your work habits and preferences into account, creating an optimized daily schedule tailored to your needs. It helps you stay focused on tasks and manage your time more effectively.
  2. Smart Task Organization: The intuitive task categorization system helps you stay on track by grouping tasks into categories like Recently Assigned, Due Today/High Priority, and Upcoming Tasks. This smart organization reduces the mental clutter that ADHD users often experience.
  3. Customizable Break Scheduling: Schedule breaks within Vineforce to give your ADHD brain the mental space it needs to recharge. The app will automatically block off your "me time" in your calendar, ensuring you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  4. Intelligent Follow-ups: Vineforce's AI analyzes your communication history and reminds you when it's time to follow up with contacts. Stay on top of your relationships and keep track of important connections without the stress of manual tracking.
  5. Overwhelm Alerts: Vineforce alerts you if you're trying to cram too much into your day, helping you avoid overwhelm and stay focused on what matters most.
  6. Reflection and Celebration: End your day on a positive note by reviewing your completed tasks and celebrating your accomplishments, which can be especially motivating for individuals with ADHD.

With these ADHD-friendly features, Vineforce is the ultimate digital planner for Microsoft 365 users living with ADHD. Give it a try with our 15-day free trial and experience the transformative impact it can have on your daily life!

2. GoodNotes Digital Planners

  • Format: Digital PDF
  • GoodNotes is a note-taking app where you can handwrite your notes for a more immersive way of jotting down your daily tasks and plans. You can organize all your notes using folders and even sync them to other devices.

3. Focus Course Digital Planner

  • Format: Digital PDF on iPad
  • This interactive daily planner allows you to write out all your tasks and plan your time efficiently. Write out your goals and plan projects throughout the different months.

4. Todoist Digital Planner

  • Format: Online, digital, and mobile app
  • Todoist specializes in productivity software and creates tools that simplify and organize your workday.

5. Digital Planner

  • Format: Online, digital, mobile app, tablet, watch software
  • Teams can plan their day in seconds with Any. do's daily planner app, which features a to-do list and calendar for efficient daily planning.

6. Google Calendar

  • Format: Online, digital, and mobile app
  • Make the most of every day by utilizing Google Calendar as a daily, weekly, or monthly planner, with features such as multiple views, guest invites, online calendar, and data backup.

Google Calendar

7. Asana Digital Planner

  • Format: Online, digital, and mobile app
  • Asana is a team collaboration tool that offers a mix of approaches to tasks, with features such as assigning team members to cards or to-dos, adding attachments, labels, subtasks, descriptions, and comments, marking milestones, defining dependencies, and tracking deadlines in a calendar view.


8. ClickUp

  • Format: Online, digital, and mobile app
  • ClickUp is a project management tool that offers a wide range of premium task management tools for individuals, teams, and small organizations at no cost, with features such as improved project visibility, efficient communication, and a variety of templates for various use cases and projects.

Finding the Perfect Planner for Your ADHD Journey

Ultimately, the best ADHD planner is the one that caters to your unique needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Whether you're a die-hard paper enthusiast or a tech-savvy digital devotee, the key is to find a planner that adds value to your life and makes managing ADHD a more manageable endeavor. So, let's recap what to look for in the perfect planner:

  • Organization: A well-structured planner that helps you prioritize tasks, schedule appointments, and visualize your time effectively is essential for individuals with ADHD.
  • Customization: Your planner should offer flexibility to adapt to your specific needs and preferences, making it easier to stick to routines and maintain productivity.
  • Engagement: An engaging and visually appealing planner can make all the difference in motivating you to stay organized and focused.
  • ADHD-Friendly Features: Look for planners that offer ADHD-specific features, like time blocking, reminders, and easy-to-navigate layouts, which can make a world of difference in managing your symptoms.

By selecting an ADHD planner that ticks all these boxes, you'll be well on your way to leading a full, organized, and productive life, despite the challenges of living with ADHD. Embrace the journey and unlock your full potential with the right planner by your side!